Farm Body Reports 100,000 Jews Working Land; 135 Refugee Families Placed

The Jewish Agricultural Society, which was founded in 1900 when the wave of Jewish immigration from Europe called forth an effort to settle some on the land, is marking its 40th anniversary at a time when the new refugee migration provides a similar problem, though on a much smaller scale.

In the annual report for 1939, issued today by General Manager Gabriel Davidson, the society notes that the thousand-odd Jews engaged in agriculture in 1900 have increased in the four decades to approximately 100,000, “wresting a living in whole or in part from American soil.”

Of this number, there are 135 refugee families established on farms and almost 200 refugee individuals placed in farm jobs. In the past year alone 96 refugee families were settled on farms, and a refugee training farm has been opened near Bound Brook, N.J. “The refugee farm picture just now looks good,” the report notes, and “there have been practically no defections.”

Last year 1,558 persons sought the J.A.S.’s services and 173 families, comprising about 800 individuals, were settled on farms in six States. The new settlers were placed on farms that “are well located, on good highways, have modern appurtenances” and the settlers “are men of good type who bring to the farm an earnestness, intelligence and understanding that should spell success.”

Since its founding the society has granted 13,066 loans aggregating $7,909,000 to Jewish farmers in 40 States. Last year 418 loans were made to farmers in 12 States. The society’s Farm Employment Department secured employment for 18,717 young men in the 32 years of its existence, including 237 last year.

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